US Blames Afghan Weather for Taliban Success

After Most Violent Year Since the War Began, Can a Violent Winter Really Be Blamed on Lack of Snow?

Considering 2008 was the most violent year in Afghanistan since the 2001 American invasion and predictions that 2009 would be even worse, it hardly seems a shock that the winter of 2008-09 has been quite a bit more violent than normal. Yet Colonel Pete Johnson gave reporters an interesting reason for why its been a tough winter fighting the growing insurgency.

The violence “has risen somewhat largely I believe due to the really good weather,” according to Johnson. “Many of the passes that would normally be blocked, just were not.”

Whether the soaring violence can really be blamed on a simple lack of snow, as opposed to international forces increasingly losing control over the nation is ultimately beside the point. The reality is, with the Taliban planning yet another spring offensive, forces that are unable to cope with the somewhat more eventful than normal winter seem destined to lose yet more ground in the months to come.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.